Trivium's Matt Heafy Says Rhythm Guitar "Has Been Lost a Little Bit" in Modern Metal

The frontman credits members of Voivod and Death for introducing an inspiring new approach

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jan 6, 2022

In an era where metal feels dominated by super-shredders, Trivium frontman Matt Heafy is singing the praises of rhythm guitar.

Heafy sat down with Guitar World for a new interview, where he admitted that he feels like rhythm guitar has gotten "lost a little bit" in modern metal.

"Every time you open Instagram, there's some new super-freak who can do the craziest stuff that most of us cannot do," the musician explained. "But I feel like the concept of rhythm guitar has been lost a little bit, especially in modern metal."

Functionally, rhythm guitar plays more of a supporting role in a band's sound by contributing to both the rhythmic pulse of the song (alongside drums, bass, etc.) and providing harmony to the lead guitar's melody — but that doesn't mean it isn't a crucial part, or that it can't provide an immense level of interest to a mix.

"I think 'A Crisis Of Revelation' [from Trivium's 2021 album In the Court of the Dragon] will be a difficult one for people to learn," Heafy continued. "It involves this weird style of picking I learned from Chuck Schuldiner from Death and Daniel Mongrain of Martyr [and Voivod]."

Elaborating on his Mongrain and Schuldiner-inspired approach, he added:

They were the first to use this bizarre technique that wasn't just alternate or down-picking: it's down, down, and then down, up, down – sounding like dun-dun-dadadun. While making our debut, [producer] Jason Suecof told us that if we learned every song from Martyr's Warp Zone (2000), we'd become the best players in the world.

Daniel Mongrain is one of the greatest – he's classically trained in jazz, so he sounds like Marty Friedman and Allan Holdsworth mixed together. I didn't invent [the style], but I'm one of the few players to use it.

Listen to Heafy's rhythm guitar stylings in action in "A Crisis of Revelation" below.

In the Court of the Dragon made Exclaim!'s essential releases of November 2021, buoyed by standout track "The Shadow of the Abattoir." Much like Heafy must be, we're eagerly anticipating hearing the latest from Mongrain on Voivod's forthcoming album Synchro Anarchy.

Latest Coverage